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App Review v.3.0

Cherie Lee gets her nerd on and reviews all thing screen and app related. With 100’s of new apps added every day, she ploughs through 1,000’s to bring you our top 5. No exaggerated promises but … they will probably change your life.

Rory’s Story Cubes

This addictive little app has kept me entertained all week. It’s a virtual version of the original product: nine six-sided dice, each with a different image on them.

Every time you shake, the dice fall into different combinations of pictures, guaranteed to get your imagination working and combat the dreaded writer’s block. There’s pictures of keys, planes, lightning, sheep, question marks, footsteps, clocks and speech bubbles to name a few.

Because of the symbolic nature of these pictures, there are millions of ways you can interpret them. You can use them at any stage of your writing project, whether you need a kick-start idea or you’re halfway through and feeling uninspired.

A depressed man finds a key to an abandoned house
that contains a mysterious book.

I challenged myself to come up with a logline based on one combination and came up with this: A depressed man finds a key to an abandoned house that contains a mysterious book.

You can take photos of your cube combinations for later reference too. Easy!

This one is definitely worth the $2.49 it costs.

Celtx

Finally! Celtx is available on iPhone!

This fantastic screenwriting program has everything you need for a beautifully polished, professional looking script. If you already use Celtx on your computer, it’s perfect for when you’re on the go and inspiration hits. You can sync it up to your computer so the script you’re working on updates.

Finally! Celtx is available on iPhone!

The only concern that one reviewer had with this app is that it doesn’t include index cards which are helpful in building the story as you go. This is true, however I think you could easily use a basic note-taking app for that (try Stick-it eNotes, a nifty little free app).

The app version of its free online counterpart is ironically $12.99 but I guess they have to make the moolah somehow, the cost is still nothing on Final Draft!

Methodology-Oblique Strategies

Another great writer’s block tool, this app uses the famous Oblique Strategies: a series of flashcards developed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt.

Each flashcard has a cryptic phrase or word that will force you to think laterally. They’re especially helpful when looking at the overall creative process, when you’re thinking about your project as a whole. For example, ‘merge two different ideas’ can relate to an element of your script itself or the overall story.

Each flashcard has a cryptic phrase or word
that will force you to think laterally.

These kind of writer’s block tools I’ve found are much more helpful in sparking your imagination then other kinds that randomize storylines and limit your scope.

For over 100 new flash cards, this one is only $2.49.

Leonard Maltin Movie Guide

What screenwriter isn’t an avid lover of film? Leonard Maltin brings his extensive film knowledge and criticisms to the bite sized world of the iPhone apps.

This is a fantastic app that rivals IMDB with Leonard Maltin’s extensive movie knowledge. On the opening page, he gives a list of his own current picks, movies both old and new.

He may be the nerdiest looking guy on the Internet
but he knows his movies!

You can watch the preview for the film straight away and read Leonard Maltin’s review. There’s also a function that enables you to keep track of your favourite movies and list the movies you want to see, a handy tool when someone’s raving about the latest blockbuster!

He may be the nerdiest looking guy on the Internet  (his mug is the app picture) but he knows his movies!

If you’re a fan of the man, it’s worth the $2.49.

Contour

This is another app based on a full sized product of the same name. Contour is a program developed by Jeffrey Alan Schechter, an L.A. based screenwriter.

Its aim is to help you flesh out your story and characters using tried and true development methods.

For example, it will take you through four questions that are at the core of every good story: Who is the main character? What are they trying to accomplish? Who is trying to stop them? What happens if they fail? The app gives about seventeen screenplays put through this process.

I found this a valuable part of the app, especially as the movies are recent and well known (Slumdog Millionaire, Star Trek and Up to name a few). It also provides a structure for breaking the screenplay into three acts as well as a structure report and beat sheet.

Contour offers a similar service as the Save The Cat app reviewed last time on The Story Department but at a much more writer-friendly price.

Contour will set you back $5.99

About the Author

Cherie Lee

I studied acting for three years and hold a graduate diploma in writing from Sydney's UTS. My interest in film and writing was solidified through interning at The Story Department and gave me the opportunity to fine tune my skills. I've been involved with several film projects, the most recent of which was shortlisted for Tropfest.With the knowledge gained from university and my experience at The Story Department, I'm now specialising in professional feedback on short films and documentaries.

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